the Sick in North Carolina
The exhibition "Sour Stomachs and Galloping Headaches"
contained a wide range of health-care material, including drawings,
photographs, pamphlets, books, newspaper articles, and original handwritten
letters drawn from the University Library's holdings.
SICKNESS OF THE SPIRIT
The Flyer, hand-painted facsimile of drawing
by English artist John White at Roanoke, 1585-1586.
Globally and for millenia, belief systems have remained
inextricably tied to diagnosing and treating illnesses. The American
natives met by the first English colonists in this region did not
generally regard physical or mental problems as distinct from spiritual
ones. The figure depicted here, identified as a "conjuror"
by English explorer and scientist Thomas Harriot, was a shaman who
lived in one of the villages around Roanoke Island (in present-day
Dare County, N.C.). As reported by Harriot, who clearly did not
grasp the full complexity of the Roanoke natives' beliefs, this
conjuror healed the sick by using "strange gestures" and "enchantments"
to ward off evil spirits. Note the small stuffed bird the shaman
is wearing. According to Harriot, it was "a badge of [his]
Page-Holgate, Plate 50
American Natives] use a kind of earth...very like Terra sigillata...for the cure of sores and wounds."
---Thomas Harriot, English explorer and scientist,
commenting on the Roanoke natives' effective use of fine
clays for salves, 1588.
Select image to enlarge |
Select image to enlarge
"IT KILLETH THE WORMS OF THE BELLY"
A Backcounty Herbal by Kay Moss (Gastonia:
Schiele Museum, 1993).
The University Library preserves many imprint and
manuscript collections relating to this region's natural resources.
In North Carolina as elsewhere in the world, herbs have long served
as essential ingredients for medications. This handy reference profiles
many of the plants that provided our ancestors with home-grown remedies
for a variety of complaints, such as sage for sunburn, radishes for
removing warts, thyme for "nervous disorders," horehound
for snake bites and rue that "killeth the Worms of the Belly" (intestinal
Select image to enlarge
SOOTHING "SOUR" STOMACHS
Twelve Full Ounces by Milward W. Martin
(New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962).
The histories of patent medicines and modern over-the-counter
drugs have had dramatic effects on mass-marketing and the promotion
of public health. As illustrated later in the exhibition, many popular
non-prescription pain relievers and other "quick
relief" products originated in North Carolina. Even Pepsi-Cola
and some other beverages were initially marketed for their therapeutic
effectiveness in soothing dyspepsia (indigestion) and treating
WHERE'S THE SEARS CATALOG?
Outhouses Along the White Oak by Jack Dudley (Morehead City, N.C.: Jack Dudley, 1999).
The role of sanitation in preventing the onset
and spread of disease was not widely understood or publicly addressed
until the latter portion of the nineteenth century. Pollution
of drinking water by both human and animal waste was a common
cause of dysentery, typhoid, and other deadly illnesses. This
book traces the history and construction of outhouses or "privies"
near the White Oak River in eastern North Carolina and documents
various styles of privies.
Early Medicine in Cabarrus edited
by Jane Harris Nierenberg (Salisbury, N.C.: Rowan Business Forms,
The North Carolina Collection preserves references
on all the state's 100 counties. Many of those references contain
data on the history of public health care in various locations,
such as this volume, which preserves information compiled by Eugenia
W. Lore about the medical hsitory of Cabarrus County.
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